With the new year on the horizon, resolutions are once again the focus of every conversation. The first thing associated with the topic of resolutions is weight loss. All around you, people are vowing to return to the gym and refine their diets. That's amazing for them.
But amidst all the chatter surrounding weight, many of us lose sight of the other resolutions we can make in order to improve our health. We forget that looking great means little if we aren't feeling great too.
Below are ways you can boost your physical health in the new year, apart from dieting and hitting the gym.
1. Make the effort to get more sleep.
We live in a society that views sleep as an unnecessary luxury, an activity best kept to a minimum. Being busy is the key to a life well-lived, and if you aren't functioning on a mere four to five hours per night, how can you truly be successful?
No one tells you the toll that losing a few hours here and there can take on your health. Not sleeping can result in decreased concentration, a poor memory and a greater chance of developing a more dire condition. So in the new year, try to achieve the recommended amount of hours for your age. You'll thank yourself later.
2. Remember to take vitamins.
You'd think all those years of parents insisting we take our vitamins would have had a more notable impact on our daily regimens. Yet, most people I know don't even own vitamins, much less take them every morning. This is bad news, especially when you consider that the majority of us are deficient in something.
Start taking a multi-vitamin each morning. It takes five seconds and could boost your health in a number of ways. If you really want to ensure you're getting the right amount of nutrients, you can take things a step further. One simple blood test and your doctor can tell you what other supplements you might need to take. If you're consistent, you'll likely feel the difference after a month or two.
3. Increase the amount of time you spend outdoors.
If you can swing it, head to the nearest mountain and go for a hike. Physical benefits aside, spending time in nature allows you to forget your worries even just temporarily.
But even if you're unable to truly immerse yourself in nature on a regular basis, try to go for a stroll outside at least once every day or two. You'll be amazed by what a bit of fresh air and sunlight can do for mental and physical wellbeing.
4. Keep track of check-ups and appointments.
"When's the last time you saw your PCP?" This question is frequently met with a long silence, sometimes followed by the awkward "What PCP?"
With busy lives and high co-payments, the argument that you only need to visit the doctor when sick is an enticing one. There is, however, a reason that yearly check-ups, dental cleanings and six-month specialist visits are recommended even if it might be a pain taking the time from your schedule.
5. Stay hydrated.
We're all a little dehydrated, and very few of us are actively working to rectify this problem. With side effects of dehydration ranging from exhaustion to headaches to dry skin, it's probably a smart decision to start tracking water intake.
Most sources state that you should strive to consume around eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily. This goal can be difficult to meet when we're running from place to place, but buying a 16-ounce bottle can alleviate some of the struggles. Carrying it with you will remind you to drink water, and the faster you chug, the faster you'll reach your goal.
6. Cut back on your vices.
A small cup of coffee? Only one margarita at happy hour? Sounds like insanity! Unfortunately, it's also a crucial change to make if you're looking to feel happy and energized. Habits like caffeine and alcohol, which are fine in moderation, can be more harmful than helpful if left unchecked.
7. Nurture your mental health.
This is a broad resolution, but many of us forget that stress and depression are major players when it comes to our bodies. They place a strain on our cardiovascular systems, digestive systems and reproductive systems. Over time, that strain can lead to more serious ailments.
Ridding ourselves of constant negative emotions is easier said than done. This can be a lifelong process, and for some of us, might require professional assistance. For others, partaking in activities we love or learning meditation techniques may do the trick.
Make a promise to determine what works for you. Then, practice it.